dorset chiapas solidarity

February 9, 2017

Call for the jTatik Samuel jCanan Lum 2018 Recognition Award

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 10:45 am

 

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Call for the jTatik Samuel jCanan Lum 2018 Recognition Award

 

samuelPhoto@Denuncia Publica

On January 26, in San Cristobal de Las Casas, the call for jTatik Samuel jCanan Lum 2018 Recognition Award was launched. This call is extended to social and civil organizations, churches and religious groups, groups and grassroots organizations to participate in the promotion and presentation of candidates to receive this recognition in 2018 as part of its sixth instalment.

The “JTatic Samuel jCanan Lum” Recognition aims at recognizing the work of women and men, organizations and groups that have been characterized by their contribution to the people in the construction of community and/or regional alternatives, as well as their work for unity and peaceful social transformation, as well as spreading and encouraging this work.

The sixth instalment will take place in January 2018. The recognition has its roots in the year 1999, when after 40 years of service in the Diocese of San Cristobal de Las Casas, of accompanying and defending the then smaller ones of the Mexican southeast, the Zoque, Chol, Tojolabal, Tsotil, Tseltal peoples of Chiapas, recognized Tatik Samuel Ruiz as jCanan Lum/Caretaker of the People.

 

https://sipazen.wordpress.com/2017/02/08/chiapas-call-for-the-jtatik-samuel-jcanan-lum-2018-recognition-award/

Book Launch of “Fighting with a Woman’s Heart” in Oaxaca City

Filed under: Women — Tags: , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 10:31 am

 

 

 Book Launch of “Fighting with a Woman’s Heart” in Oaxaca City

 

book

On Thursday, February 9 at 6:00 p.m., the International Service for Peace (SIPAZ) will launch “Fighting with a Woman’s Heart. The Situation and Participation of Women in Chiapas (1995-2015) “, a diagnosis of the main changes in the last 20 years, at the offices of Consorcio Oaxaca, Calle Pensamientos, 104, Colonia Reforma, Oaxaca City. Join us!

https://sipazen.wordpress.com/2017/02/08/oaxaca-book-launch-of-fighting-with-a-womans-heart-in-oaxaca-city/

 

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February 6, 2017

25th Anniversary of the Pueblo Creyente in Chiapas: “We intend to build autonomy in our communities”

Filed under: Acteal, Frayba, Indigenous, Uncategorized — Tags: , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 10:15 am

 

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25th Anniversary of the Pueblo Creyente in Chiapas:  “We intend to build autonomy in our communities”

 

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Published by: POZOL COLECTIVO  25 January 2017

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Communiqué from the Pueblo Creyente on the sixth anniversary of Jtatik(*) Samuel’s death

“We denounce the projects of death”

Popol Vuh: Dawn came upon all the tribes together. The face of the earth was immediately cleansed by the sun (33). Dawn came to all the peoples who again and again have walked through different periods of history’s darkness and ignorance.

To the general public

To people of different religious beliefs

To the State and Federal Governments

To the mass media

To men and women who build peace

 

We greet and congratulate our sisters of CODIMUJ(**) who celebrate 25 years of their journey.

Aware of our reality, we, the Pueblo Creyente, are builders of alternatives, we are role models and we organise and demonstrate this by defending Mother Earth.

We, the Publo Creyenete, are in motion in many places and in many ways. There is agreement that Pueblo Creyente is for people of faith. Our greatest desire is to fight for the freedom and an economy that will benefit our communities and we are united together in a shared struggle. For 25 years we have been putting our prophetic voice into action.

We are encouraged by Father Francisco’s words in San Cristobal:

“The law of the Lord is perfect and comforting to the soul, it is a law that would help God’s people to live in the freedom to which they had been called. A law that wanted to be the light for their footsteps and to accompany the pilgrimage of His people. People who had lived through slavery and the Pharaoh’s despotism, people who had lived suffering and abuse, until God said enough, until God said:  No more! We have seen sorrow, I have heard the cry, I have known their anguish (cf. Ex 3, 9).

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We denounce the projects of death:

The violence, the dispossession of our land, the territory and the natural resources. Cutting down trees. Mega-projects:  super highways, eco-tourism projects, mining, dams, wind turbines, gas, petroleum, destruction of the ecosystem. Privatisation of natural resources. The cost of electricity and petrol. Agro-chemicals. Pollution, particularly of the water. Genetically modified seeds. Agricultural reform. Single-crop farming.

In the political realm we denounce:  The trickery of the political parties. The disease of power. The government’s projects. Structural reforms. Corruption and impunity. The government’s failure to listen to social demands. The authorities’ oppression and repression. We are not consulted when they make laws. “Public servants”, not servants of their own interests. Structural reforms, the free trade agreement, legalisation of dispossession, violence and impunity. We are opposed to the “PROCEDE” programme which will be the end of our ejidos.

In the social realm: The divisions. Machismo. Violence against and exploitation of women. Improper use of the Internet. The use of pharmaceutical medicines, rather than the use of traditional medicine. The sale and consumption of alcohol and drugs. We denounce the government’s strategy which has used young people for drug trafficking and the consumption of drugs. Junk food. The water shortages caused by the privatisation of water. The projects and reactivation of hydroelectric dams. Infiltration and creation of groups to disrupt the people’s struggle. The oil wells. Physical illness.

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Social ills, violence in the family, prostitution. Organised crime. Hunger. The violation of migrants’ human rights, and the abuse and extortion carried out by migration officials, and the police and army because they have links to organised crime. Religious divisions. Militarisation of the territory, infiltration by powerful groups, organised crime. Lack of employment and public services, the dismantling of the health services and the shortage of medicine in hospitals. We also denounce those who use our sisters and brothers as cheap labour in their companies in the north of the country, working as they do in slave-like conditions.

As Pueblo Creyente we intend:

To build autonomy in our communities, recovering our structures of governance. As Pueblo Creyente, we are not a specific organisation, as Mexican citizens, we have the experience and legal space to build our alternative political and economic systems. We need to keep up our resistance to these projects of death and recover our autonomous governments, our communities.

Already in the run up to the 2018 elections, political parties are already controlling and organizing their people in communities, and we urge people not to sell out. Let us fight for our dignity and for the truth, let’s not be sell-outs. Oxchuc is an example of a community undergoing this process of recovery.

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As Pueblo Creyente we are defending Mother Earth and the territory through our way of life and pilgrimages and prayers. We are self-organised, and we keep ourselves informed through the alternative media. These are processes of becoming aware of reality.

The projects in favour of life that we are building are:

Unity, Conscious raising, Dignified Lives, Autonomy, Self-government, Fraternity, Self-expression, Alternative social structures, Native Seeds, Autonomous food security. A government for the community, Freedom, Resistance, our Ancestors´ Wisdom, True Life, People Power, Community halls, Care for all the plants, animals and other species, and Justice.

We express our solidarity with:

collectives and organisations that defend life. Those who defend the rights of women, like CODIMUJ. We share the CNI’s objective of the desire to strengthen the voices of our communities and create our autonomy. We express our solidarity with the families of the thousands of disappeared people.

We urge other communities to unite because it is necessary to unite our people and our territory, do not be afraid to join us. Fear is a tool Big Money uses to paralyse us. We are encouraged by the words of Pope Francisco: “now is the time to mobilise”.

May the Heart of Heaven and the Heart of the Earth, owner and creator of man, woman and nature, enlighten us and strengthen us in our walk.

Pueblo Creyente from the Dioceses of San Cristobal de las Casas, Chiapas

25 January 2017

Photos: Frayba and the Abejas of Acteal Communication Team.

(*) “Jtatik” is a Tzeltal word of respect and means “our father”

(**) CODIMUJ is the Spanish acronym for “Coordinación Diocesana de Mujeres” or the Women’s Organisation of the Diocese

 

Translated by the UK Zapatista Translation Service h

ttp://www.pozol.org/?p=14483

 

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February 5, 2017

The Freedom of ex-Political Prisoner Roberto Paciencia Cruz is at Risk

Filed under: Frayba, Human rights, Indigenous, Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 4:47 pm

 

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 The Freedom of ex-Political Prisoner Roberto Paciencia Cruz is at Risk

 

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San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Chiapas

February 2, 2017

Joint Bulletin:

The working group No Estamos Todxs and the centre of human rights Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas AC, express our concern regarding the risk to the freedom of our compañero Roberto Paciencia Cruz (Roberto Paciencia) who is an Indigenous Tsostil of Chenalhó, Chiapas and an adherent to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandona Jungle.

Roberto was detained August 9th, 2013 and accused of abduction. During the moment of his detention and incarceration, acts of torture, arbitrary detention and unfair trial were documented, violating the rights of personal freedom and integrity, personal security and access to due process.

Since his detention, and throughout the judicial process that lasted three years and three months, Roberto did not cease his struggle against the injustices of the corrupt Mexican political system. On November 26, 2016, he was released by acquittal under the recognition of his innocence on part of the Judge of the criminal branch of the judicial district of San Cristóbal de Las Casas.

However, the public prosecutor has filed an appeal against the acquittal, despite not having been able to sustain the accusation against our compañero Paciencia during the trial, and in spite of the mentioned violations against him.

The arbitrary and unjust detention to which Roberto was subjected has brought physical and psychological consequences for him and his family, disrupting his life and generating poverty in his family.

According to available information, the study of the case and the proposal of appeal will be under the charge of Residing Judge C, of the Regional Mixed Collegiate Courtroom Zone 3, of San Cristóbal de Las Casas. Judge Ramiro Joel Ramírez Sánchez will head the case. The judges that integrate the courtroom will vote upon the proposal in the middle of February

The probability of his acquittal being modified has generated uncertainty, stress and anxiety for Roberto, as well as for his family. During the months following his release, Roberto has moved to San Cristóbal de Las Casas, where he has tried to continue his life together with his family. Right now he is working and continuing the struggle.

During the years that he was detained in CERSS Number 5, in San Cristóbal de Las Casas, he continued to defend the right of the prisoners, showing solidarity and commitment to the imprisoned survivors of torture and politically motivated criminalization. He did not stop denouncing the many abuses committed by the authorities, like the unjust and corrupt penitentiary and judicial system that discriminates against people for being poor and Indigenous.

The working group No Estamos Todxs and the Centre for Human Rights Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas AC, reiterate our concern regarding the risk to the freedom of Roberto Paciencia and we urge the judge Ramiro Joel Ramírez Sánchez and the members of the Regional Mixed Collegiate Courtroom Zone 3, of San Cristóbal de Las Casas, to confirm the acquittal, for not having legal means to revoke the sentence.

To the adherents of the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandona Jungle and the national and internal civil society, we ask you to be attentive to the resolution of the Regional Mixed Collegiate Courtroom Zone 3, and to carry out solidarity actions for Roberto Paciencia Cruz and his family

Working Group No Estamos Todxs

Centre of Human Rights Fray Bartolomé de las Casas AC

Translated by Palabras Rebeldes

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The gasolinazo and the protests

Filed under: Corporations, Uncategorized — Tags: , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 9:19 am

 

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The gasolinazo and the protests

 

010marcha_chiapas_gasolinazo_1Banner in a Chiapas march: “We are fed up with: 1. the hikes in fuel prices; 2. the cost of electricity; and 3. the price of gas. But we’re more fed up with the coward who does nothing. Wake up mother fucker!

 

By: Luis Hernández Navarro

The image has been reproduced a thousand times as a symbol of the times. At the exit of a department store sacked by a plebeian multitude, a young man carries an enormous new screen on his back.

With that screen, he recovers from the offence of being needy in a country in which being so is not only a material tragedy but also the symbol of social defeat.

Installed in the perpetual fiesta of consumption, the lords of money exhibit their fortune without modesty. They exhibit their luxuries without any modesty, as material evidence of their success in life. And, the pariahs, without an entry pass to the spectacle of extravagance, watch the ostentation and opulence of the powerful from their humble homes through the window of television programmes, until the opportunity arrives to take their revenge.

With that screen, its new owner has the illusion that he has achieved slipping into the banquet of the wealthy. The robbery’s harvest, two or three times larger than the almost 10 million television sets that the federal government gave away with the pretext of the 2015 analogue blackout, doesn’t commit either his vote or his loyalty, as happened during that year’s elections.

That television is also his personal retaliation to the politicians’ endless swindles. If the ex- governors of Veracruz, Chihuahua, Quintana Roo, Coahuila and Nuevo León embezzled from state coffers without suffering any punishment, why not keep an item without having to pay for it?

He obtained that screen by breaking the law. But perhaps those above don’t do it like that? He snatched it in a strike of luck and audacity, in an act of rage and rancour accumulated for years, which the gasolinazo took the lid off.

That is an explanation for the waves of looting that have shaken several regions of the country, like the state of Mexico, Veracruz, Hidalgo and Nuevo León. However there are those who put that explanation in doubt and offer another: that of a plot. Some say that public functionaries organized the pillage as part of a variant of the shock doctrine to justify the intervention of public force against those in disagreement with the increase in gas prices, and to discourage the popular protests.

This strategy of fear combines disinformation campaigns in the social networks, public calls to rob warehouses, the absence of public force guarding businesses, government agents and police that offer money and impunity for committing robberies, and the action of provocateurs like Antorcha Campesina.

Abundant testimony and evidence have been published in the social networks that seem to corroborate this hypothesis, above all in the state of Mexico and in Puebla. In more than one video police can be seen stealing merchandise.

Has this strategy had success? Yes and no. Yes, because in different sectors of the population a climate of fear and uncertainty has been created, which has inhibited their incorporation into the protests. Yes, because groups of impresarios that were opposed from the beginning to the gasolinazo now demand a heavy hand for calming down the protests.

No, because, despite everything, far from diminishing, the social discontent continues expanding and shows no signs of weakening in the short-term. The relationship between the number of protests and looting is, according to a recap of journalistic notes, at least five to one. And no because the pillage has expanded beyond the control of its hypothetical sponsors: more than 800 businesses according to the Concanaco (Mexico’s National Chamber of Commerce).

Then, are the robberies of large warehouses actions orchestrated by government actors or are they expressions of social rancour? They are probably both. Although in the beginning they may have been induced from some sphere of power, they are also an expression of a genuine and accumulated social discontent.

Looting is the most visible face of the popular insurrection under way, but it’s far from being the only one. Meetings, marches, liberation of toll booths on superhighways and blockages of gas stations, highways, railroads and centrals of Pemex have been carried out all over the country. Expressions of solidarity abound. The big rig drivers that in Chihuahua obstructed vehicle movement say, half in jest half seriously, that they had never eaten as well as they do now because of the popular support: meat at breakfast, lunch and dinner.

The protest against the gasolinazo is an unprecedented act, generalized, amorphous, spontaneous, lacking set direction and organizational centre. In the acts, we’re dealing with multiple regional protests, each one different than the others.

In the first line of opposition are big rig drivers, transport drivers, taxi drivers, all those whose work is directly associated with the consumption of fuel. They are the ones who have organized many of the roadblocks. They have paid a high price. Many of their compañeros have been arrested.

But, irrigation farmers, campesinos, self-convoked citizens, housewives, professionals, parish priests and teachers also participate in the days of struggle. The gasolinazo hit a part of the “middle class” at the waterline and launched it into the public squares. The awesome Monterrey demonstration tells the story.

The block in power is fractured. The governors of Sonora, Chihuahua and Tamaulipas ask to reconsider the increase in gas prices. The governor of Jalisco went even further and reached an agreement with Enrique Alfaro [1] and Movimiento Ciudadano (Citizen Movement). [2] With an even more energetic tone, the Conference of Mexican Bishops (Conferencia del Episcopado Mexicano, CEM) did the same thing. And just in case something is missing, in what is the cherry on the cake on the cake of this rupture, Coparmex (Mexican Employers Association) rejected Peña Nieto’s proposed economic package.

Disconcerted, a good part of the traditional opposition leaders, social leaders as well as political leaders, have been bypassed. Their astonishment comes from the hand of the governmental inability to comprehend what it has in front of it. New popular local leaderships have emerged in the heat of the fight.

The January 7 marches, in at least 25 states, would seem to be an indicator of the advance of national protest. In them, it went from the demand to lower the price of fuels to the demand for the President’s resignation. Those demonstrations, some large and others small, could be a point of inflection in the ability to organize resistance.

[1] Enrique Alfaro is the Mayor of Guadalajara, Jalisco and a member of Movimiento Ciudadano.

[2] Movimiento Ciudadano (Citizen Movement) is a registered political party in Mexico.

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Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada

Tuesday, January 10, 2016

http://www.jornada.unam.mx/2017/01/10/opinion/015a2pol

Re-Published with English interpretation by the Chiapas Support Committee

https://chiapas-support.org/2017/02/01/the-gasolinazo-and-the-protests/

Posted by Dorset Chiapas Solidarity

 

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January 30, 2017

Oxchuc Celebrates the “Day of Civil Resistance”

Filed under: Autonomy, Uncategorized — Tags: , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 4:46 pm

 

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Oxchuc Celebrates the “Day of Civil Resistance”

 

oxchuc-chiapas-oxchuc-1400112503Aerial view of the town of Oxchuc, the capital of Oxchuc municipality, located in the Highlands of Chiapas, Mexico.

 

By: Isaín Mandujano

With marches, public assemblies, dance, food and sports activities, for two days, thousands of indigenous Oxchuc residents, celebrated the “Day of Civil Resistance” in that municipal capital, to remember that January 8, 2016 on which hundreds of state police attempted to enter the municipal capital but were repelled with a negative result for the police.

During Saturday and Sunday, residents of some 97 communities and the 22 neighbourhoods in the municipal capital congregated to remember that pitched battle, which they called a “historic gesture,” that they had with some 700 police who tried to enter the town to subject them.

The town of Oxchuc maintains a civilian resistance against the mayor elected in July 2015, María Gloria Sánchez and that the Electoral Tribunal of the Judicial Power of the Federation (TEPJF) ratified; they accuse her of having won by buying votes, and manipulating and coercing the vote during the elections to prolong the political boss system in that municipality that she maintains with her husband Norberto Sántiz.

In a plebiscite residents elected Oscar Gómez López, and although the local government already recognized him, the state government obliged him to install María Gloria Sánchez in his position because of a TEPJF resolution.

January 8, 2016 was marked in the history of Oxchuc, the bravery with which everyone went out in the streets to confront the state police. Minutes before, state police had detained 38 Oxchuc leaders during a negotiating session in San Cristóbal de Las Casas.

When the state police entered, residents burned a dozen buses and patrol cars which resulted in more than 50 injuries. The residents also captured 27 state police, among them eight women, as well as the Oxchuc judge for Indigenous Peace and Conciliation, Rogelio Sántiz López, and four of his sons and two little boys.

The Oxchuqueros (residents of Oxchuc) used the captured state police and civilians as hostages to demand the freedom of their 38 leaders. Therefore the state government had to accede immediately to the demand.

Last Saturday and Sunday, Oxchuqueros went into the streets to march, held a huge assembly with representation from the 97 communities and the 22 barrios of the municipal capital. There, they ratified Oscar Gómez López as their mayor-elect through uses and customs.

 

chis-702x468Mayor Oscar Gómez López and his Emiliano Zapata banner.

 

In an interview, Mayor Oscar Gómez López demanded that the state government and particularly the Treasury Secretary, release the Oxchuc municipal council’s bank accounts, because the situation has already reached a point at which it is not possible to support some expenses they must make, like paying police, repairing patrol cars and buying gas.

Also, thousands of men, women and children are affected by the lack of ambulances, because these already are lacking or rather there is no longer any fuel for taking out the sick and injured from the more than 100 rural communities.

Gómez López said that the people have made the decision to block that stretch of highway again on January 18, to demand that the state government release the frozen bank accounts; and if they are not released they will block that highway stretch until they are heard. [1]

Blocking Oxchuc is a crisis for the state government because it paralyzes the economy, the movement of tourists and the local population that travels from the Highlands to the Jungle Region and the Northern Zone of Chiapas.

Gómez López said that the people of Oxchuc remain firm in maintaining him as mayor-elect through uses and customs and that in no way will they permit the return of the political bosses María Gloria and Norberto.

[1] Oxchuc residents maintained a roadblock on Wednesday and Thursday (January 18 and 19) to demand that the state government release the city’s bank accounts, because thousands of inhabitants are suffering the consequences of the lack of public resources like water, public services like garbage collection, security and patrolling, and health care and other matters. The state government and the members of the Permanent Commission for Peace and Conciliation, the body that heads the civil resistance movement against the region’s caciques, reached an agreement and they lifted the roadblock. In the evening, after lifting the roadblock, residents of Oxchuc heard shots fired into the air and believe they came from groups that support María Gloria. There is concern about an outbreak of violence in the town and in the municipality.

http://www.chiapasparalelo.com/noticias/chiapas/2017/01/temen-enfrentamiento-en-oxchuc/

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Originally Published in Spanish by Chiapas Paralelo

Sunday, January 8, 2017

http://www.chiapasparalelo.com/noticias/chiapas/2017/01/celebra-oxchuc-dia-de-la-resistencia-civil/

Re-Published with English interpretation by the Chiapas Support Committee

 

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January 12, 2017

“The government is the one that should be afraid” Message from organized civil society after the gasolinazo

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 5:59 pm

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“The government is the one that should be afraid”

Message from organized civil society after the gasolinazo

 

gasolinazo-chiapasChiapas civil society protest against the hike in gas prices.

Tuxtla Gutiérrez, Chiapas

“Despite the fear infused in the population, the mobilization took place. The government is the one that should be afraid,” asserted unions, social organizations, transport drivers, students and civil society angered by the rise in fuel prices in the country, after a march that started from the western part of the Chiapas capital and ended with a rally in the central park of Tuxtla.

“We protest against the starvation policies, which increase the cost of basic needs,” denounced members of the National Coordinator of Education Workers (CNTE), who together with workers from the health sector evidenced the loss of the buying power of one’s salary in Mexico.

“Millions of people can’t be wrong,” university and teachers college students asserted, with respect to the different demonstrations of repudiation that are happening on a national level since the first days of this year faced with the increase in fuel prices. “The cost of transportation and food are going to go up, we cannot remain quiet,” students from institutions like the UNACH and the Mactumactzá Rural Teachers College warned.

“The water is reaching our neck. We demand a political case against Peña Nieto together with (Chiapas governor) Velasco Coello and Fernando Castellanos,” urged members of civil society, upon pointing out those who have supported the federal executive in his reforms that are classified as neoliberal and privatizing.

“In what way are we going to straighten out the country? We have not fallen into their provocations. We are acting with honesty and decency,” expressed transport drivers from communities in the Centre and the Highlands of Chiapas, who participated with a numerous contingent of the federal public transport units.

“There is no evil that lasts 100 years, nor people that endure it,” assured the social organizations that participated in the peaceful citizen’s march this Saturday in Tuxtla. They agreed to hold meetings afterwards to coordinate the coming actions to continue protesting over the increase in the price of fuel in Mexico. Social organizations, parents, students and people in general also demonstrated in different regions of the Chiapas geography like San Cristobal de las Casas, Comitán, Las Margaritas, Frontera Comalapa, Tapachula, Tonalá and Arriaga, among others.

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Originally Published in Spanish by POZOL COLECTIVO

Saturday, January 7, 2017

http://www.pozol.org/?p=14415

Re-Published with English interpretation by the Chiapas Support Committee

https://chiapas-support.org/2017/01/11/the-government-is-the-one-that-should-be-afraid/

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November 28, 2016

Chiapas: Indigenous Pilgrimage shows the “Green” Government how to care for the Earth

Filed under: Indigenous, Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 5:09 pm

 

Chiapas:  Indigenous Pilgrimage shows the “Green” Government how to care for the Earth

 

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Chiapas, México. 18 November. “We invite children, young people to teach them how to plant corn, beans, everything that we have in our lands. So that we don’t forget the Mayan altar which is all we have. At the Mayan altar we can thank God. We are millionaires because of the riches from our seeds and our lands.” These are the words of the original people from Tseltal, Tsotsil and Ch’ol communities as they arrived in the city of Ocosingo. on the fifth day of their pilgrimage

“We have to care for our lands, and no longer use agrochemicals because they kill everything which is in the land. Our grandparents did not use agrochemicals, they worked and it was their sweat of their labour that bore fruit, and that is what we must show young people, that it still can be done that way today,” shared Maria, a member of “Canan Lum Qu’inal” (The Carers and Protectors of Mother Earth) from the community of Bachajon.

Ana, also from “Canan Lum Qu’inal”, talked about some of the work she does in her village:  “I don’t know how to read or write, and I buy nothing. With my sweat, and alongside my husband, I work, and we have everything.” I grow 4 types of beans. My children study, and they like to work the land. They have their own corn and beans, which they plant themselves. They are on a diploma-course. From the very beginning they have been taught that we must work the land. Although I don’t know how to read, I understand what we’ve been told, what we’ve been given, and I am grateful to God. Now we continue with the other diploma-students, we are teaching them to plant and grow food.”

This pilgrimage of indigenous peoples denounces the extractive mega-projects in Chiapas just as the state executive Velasco Coello from the “Ecologist ‘Green’ party” delivered a letter of intention that “Puerto Chiapas be established as a Special Economic Zone. According to social researcher Mateo Crossa, “Big foreign and national capital are already in the southern part of the country. They over-exploit the labour force, strip the indigenous people of their lands.”  The Special Economic Zones serve to rejuvenate this model, and add fuel to the motor of exploitation and dispossession.

Pilgrims from the the parish of San Jacinto de Polania in Ocosingo said in a statement.“We denounce the influence of government agencies such as CONAFOR, FANAR (RAJAS at present) and in general of all government projects in the indigenous communities of the jungle. The end result is serious confrontation and irreparable division among the inhabitants, and this causes misery in our communities. The indigenous peoples of this area are once again demonstrating for the non-eviction of our communities of the Lacandon Jungle,” they added.

The pilgrimage in Defense of Life and our Land, which is taking place from 15 to 25 November isn’t the only signal of people’s actions demonstrating opposition to the extractive mega-projects in the state. In the past month of October, the Zoque community held mega-marches in town centre of Tecpatan, the administrative head town of the municipality. Similarly since the 26th of September coastal communities in Chiapas are occupying Acacoyagua to stop the operation and continuing work of new mining projects.

This Saturday the 19th the pilgrimage will arrive in the city of Altamirano, where a public meeting about the situation of alcoholism in indigenous communities will be held and, on Sunday the 20th in Oxchuc, the administrative head town, an exchange of community government experiences will be held.

Ocosingo, Chiapas, 18 November 2016: Statement from the “pueblo creyente” of the Parish of San Jacinto de Polonia, Diocese of San Cristóbal de las Casas.

 

Translated by the UK Zapatista Translation Service

http://www.pozol.org/?p=14051

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November 14, 2016

Commemoration of 20 Years of Crimes against Humanity in Northern Zone

Filed under: Frayba, Human rights, Indigenous — Tags: , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 2:27 pm

 

Commemoration of 20 Years of Crimes against Humanity in Northern Zone

 

norteVictims’ relatives continue to seek justice 20 years later. Photo@SIPAZ

On October 22, victims’ relatives and survivors of the “counterinsurgency strategy operated in the northern zone of Chiapas” met in the community of Susuclumil, Tila municipality, to denounce “the lack of justice for crimes against humanity committed by the paramilitary group Peace and Justice (Paz y Justicia), with the complicity and responsibility of the Mexican State.”

The Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas Centre for Human Rights, (CDHFBC, also known as Frayba) recalls in its press bulletin No. 21 that with the emergence of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN), on January 1, 1994, violence increased in the northern zone. It explains that the Mexican State implemented a strategy of counterinsurgency war against the civilian population, through the Chiapas Campaign ’94 plan, with the objective of eliminating support bases of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation. From 1995 to 1999, paramilitary groups responsible for crimes against humanity were formed: “In the north of Chiapas, paramilitary groups such as the Peace and Justice Development Organization (Paz y Justicia) appeared, with the training and protection of different levels of government, and who between 1995 and 1999 systematically committed serious human rights violations. “

The CDHFBC recorded a total of “22 cases of serious human rights violations in the north, of which 37 were forced disappearances and 85 extrajudicial executions and more than 4,500 people were forcibly displaced, followed by arbitrary detention, torture, sexual torture, harassment, intimidation, destruction of property, among others, committed by the paramilitary group Peace and Justice.”

Victims’ relatives and survivors continue to denounce, “constant harassment, intimidation and persecution with unjust arrest warrants and subpoenas, with threats of fines, by the justice administration system in Chiapas.” They request that the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) continue its monitoring and determine the responsibility of the Mexican State for human rights violations committed in the context of the Internal Armed Conflict.

Posted  by Dorset Chiapas Solidarity

https://sipazen.wordpress.com/2016/11/10/chiapas-commemoration-of-20-years-of-crimes-against-humanity-in-northern-zone/

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November 6, 2016

Chiapan Youth Demand Govt Action On Malnutrition, Child Deaths

Filed under: Indigenous — Tags: , , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 10:20 am

 

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Chiapan Youth Demand Govt Action on Malnutrition, Child Deaths

 

chiaps_demo_foto_2-jpg_1718483346Demonstration Against Child Deaths in San Cristobal de las Casas, Chiapas, Mexico | Photo: Melel Xojobal

 

In Chiapas, one in every 10 children between the ages of one and four dies from preventable gastrointestinal diseases.

Indigenous children from the southern Mexican state of Chiapas staged a demonstration Tuesday to demand government action on chronic child malnutrition and deaths of minors due to easily preventable gastrointestinal illnesses.

The demonstration in the city of San Cristobal de las Casas, organized by the Melel Xojobal organization, highlighted that in Chiapas one in every 10 children between the ages of one and four will die from preventable gastrointestinal diseases.

According to the organization, Chiapas has one of the highest rates of mortality of children under five, with 23 deaths per 100,000 children. The figures are drawn from the Mexican Health Secretariat.

“Death from malnutrition and gastrointestinal illness are curable and preventable. However, state policy on this issue has not been effective, and continues to make invisible the children and adolescents who feel the effects,” stated Melel Xojobal.

According to the National Council for Evaluation of Social Development Policy, the rates of malnutrition in the majority Indigenous state of Chiapas have remained the same for more than a decade.

Melel Xojobal added that “In Chiapas, 68% of the population doesn’t have enough income for a basic household food basket, and 84% of children and adolescents live in poverty.”

San Cristobal de las Casas is considered the cradle of the Zapatistas, who publicly launched their revolutionary Indigenous-led social movement to combat neo-liberal capitalism over 20 years ago.

This year the Zapatistas, also known as the EZLN, in conjunction with the National Indigenous Congress of Mexico, announced they would select an Indigenous woman to run for president in the 2018 national elections in order to “strengthen us in our resistances and rebellions; that is to say, in the defence of the life of every person, every family, group, community or neighbourhood.”

The EZLN and National Indigenous Congress plan to announce their candidate for president at the end of December during their national conference, to take place in San Cristobal de las Casas.

The protest comes just three months after the EZLN accused the mayor of San Cristobal of sending paramilitaries to attack a blockade by striking teachers.

http://www.telesurtv.net/english/news/Chiapan-Youth-Demand-Govt-Action-on-Malnutrition-Child-Deaths-20161105-0003.html?utm_source=planisys&utm_medium=NewsletterIngles&utm_campaign=NewsletterIngles&utm_content=12

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October 22, 2016

Ethnic groups in Chiapas have almost no water, but are drowning in Coca-Cola

Filed under: Human rights, Indigenous, water — Tags: , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 2:00 pm

 

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Ethnic groups in Chiapas have almost no water, but are drowning in Coca-Cola

 

planta-coca-cola-chiapas-1024x569

 

By Marco Appel, 5th February, 2016.

Coca-Cola, the Secret Formula, a French documentary aired on Belgian television three years ago, really put a bee in the bonnet of the fizzy drink giant. They even issued a complaint to the ethical advisory board of the Belgian press. The documentary relays the investigation of a French reporter to find out the precise recipe of the fizzy drink. Among her discoveries was that one of the main ingredients is…water. Lots of it. One litre of the sugary drink requires three litres of liquid. And one of the places where the multinational obtains this raw material, for next-to-nothing and to the detriment of local provision, is Chiapas.

Brussels (Proceso).

Coca-Cola: The Secret Formula is the title of a documentary that tells of the ups and downs of French journalist Olivia Mokiejewski in her mission to find out the ingredients used in the making of this fizzy drink, kept secret by the company with a military seal.

One of these ingredients is water. For this reason, part of the documentary is filmed in the area of San Cristobal de las Casas, Chiapas, where it is nothing if not plentiful.

The journalist, who made the journey to this part of Mexico, reveals that to produce one litre of Coca-Cola, you need three litres of water.

“There’s no shortage of water”, Mokiejewski’s voiceover tells us. “The region is one of Mexico’s reservoirs: a paradise for the makers of fizzy drinks. It’s no coincidence that Coca-Cola decided to build a factory here in the 1980s.

The journalist interviews hydrologist Antonino García, who explains that the fizzy drink giant moved in “strategically” to extract the water directly from San Cristobal’s underground channels. He tells us that every day they take 750,000 litres – enough to give daily drinking water to a population of 10,000 people.

“I suppose Coca-Cola must pay a high price to compensate the region for all the water it uses”, the young journalist remarks.

Laughing, Garcia tells her that no, Coca-Cola paid just €25,000 in 2003, all thanks to then-President Vicente Fox, who was also president of the company’s Mexico branch.

“€25,000 for hundreds of millions of litres of water”, Mokiejewski repeats. “The main ingredient of Coca-Cola costs the company practically nothing”,

The documentary explains that there are five communities that that depend on the same underground channels used by the fizzy drink company. There, the water is scarcer every day.

A family from one of these communities shows the journalist that they don’t currently have any running water, and the shortage is happening ever more frequently. They turn on the tap and nothing comes out. They must use rainwater or water from the well, which isn’t clean and makes the children ill.

Mokiejewski talks into the camera: “Deprived of water in a region in which it abounds, the residents contacted Coca-Cola. But the multinational insists that there is no link between their intensive extraction and the water shortage. And the most ironic thing about it? When there’s no water, the children are given fizzy drinks. It’s a vicious circle, one in which the indigenous people of Chiapas are trapped”, Mokiejewski reflects. Accompanying her final words is the image of a little boy, almost a baby, drinking coke from a feeding bottle.

This extract of the report specifically is included in a complaint the company Coca-Cola Belgian Services presented on the 22nd of May last year to the Belgian Ethical Advisory Board for Journalism (Conseil Déontologique Periodique de la Belge – CDPB) against the company Belgian Francophone Radio Television (Radio Televisión Belga Francófona – RTBF), which aired the French documentary in the country.

The board, created in 2009 and formed of 20 journalists and editors, receives complaints and proffers its opinion on cases related to the treatment of information in the Belgian media. Its general secretary, André Linard, told Proceso that the board had never before received a complaint of this kind.

In it, the fizzy drink giant told the CDPB that the investigation relating to Mexico contains “inexact information”, and that furthermore, the whole report demonstrates “a desire to destroy the reputation of Coca-Cola”.

Last December 1st, the ethical standards board published its conclusions: the documentary, it stated, followed a “correct” method of journalistic investigation and the journalist who carried out the work, Olivia Mokiejewski, respected professional ethical guidelines.

The board found in the documentary no violations of the Belgian ethical code; no “flaws in the investigation or respect for the truth” (article 1), no “absence of source-checking” (article 4), and no “deforming of information or deletion of essential information” (article 3).

“Factually accurate” Documentary
The documentary Coca-Cola: the Secret Formula was made in 2012 by the French producer Nilaya, and was coproduced by France Télévisions, the audiovisual organization of the French State. It was filmed in France, the USA and Mexico, and was originally aired on the French public television channel France 2 as part of the journalistic investigation programme Infrarouge. It is 65 minutes long; the part about Mexico lasts 12 minutes.
In Belgium, the documentary was shown on four occasions on the RTBF channel Uno in January 2013. Coca-Cola has stated that it was in communications with the RTBF to demand that it correct the supposedly erroneous information before the fourth reshowing of the documentary, on May 13th 2015. The television company refused the demand.

A significant part of the report takes place in the USA (Atlanta, New York and California), where through interviews with first hand sources the journalist manages to get hold of the secret Coca-Cola formula. These ingredients include coca leaf extract (imported from Peru and Bolivia and used to give the fizzy drink its bitter aroma); an amount of sugar equal to ten dessert spoons per can, and a caramel chemical, one such E.150D, which in 2007 was revealed to be carcinogenic (causing leukaemia in animals).

The public health authorities in California limited the use of E.150D to 29 micrograms per can of Coca-Cola, the French reporter is told by Mike Jacobson, director of the California Centre for Science in the Public Interest. In the documents that the expert shows the camera, we can see that in Mexico, they allow 147 micrograms of the chemical per can.

The fizzy drink company says it lost €1.6 million in sales in Belgium as a result of the first four showings of the documentary.

According to the CDPB’s conclusive statement, which the writer was able to access, the television provider argued in its defence that it had not produced the report and could not, therefore, answer every question about it in detail.

It also claimed that “the aim of the documentary was nothing other than to inform” and considered that “the (informative) result is sufficiently credible for France Télévision to air it without modifications, in spite of its criticisms”.

The Belgian television provider underlines the fact that during her investigation, Mokiejewski was given no straight answers by the firm when she sought them: “Refusing to give interviews is always risky and then it’s all too easy to complain afterwards”, the RTBF points out to Coca-Cola, who, in their statement of complaint also insisted that it was untrue that the fizzy drink company had refused to respond to her questioning and that in any case, “she had not asked the right people.”

In the documentary, the journalist mentions that for two months she requested interviews with directors of the company, to which end she sent 21 emails and made 12 phone calls. In one of them, we hear someone from the company’s PR department clearly deny her a statement of any kind.

In another scene, we see Mokiejewski go to a house in the USA to look for the president and executive director of the firm, Muhtar Kent. On the intercom at the gate of the house, she explains that she has spent two months trying to get an interview with Kent, but the person on the other end rudely hangs up on her, leaving her no choice other than to leave a note on top of the intercom, stating her request for interview.

Fizzy drink paradise
Another scene filmed in Mexico, and which Coca-Cola also include in their complaint in Belgium, is about the price of the fizzy drink, which is mentioned in the documentary.

This episode begins when Mokiejewski tells us that “Mexicans have become the top consumers of Coca-Cola in the world. And in Chiapas, they have broken records: three cans per person, per day.”

While they travel along a local road in a van, Marcos Arana, doctor and public health expert, tells the journalist that mothers in the region give Coca-Cola to their children before they reach two years of age, which damages their nutrition habits and makes them addicted to sugar. Arana invites the journalist to count the shops selling Coca-Cola: they find 166 in the 42 kilometres they travel.

We see images of indigenous young people grouped around one of these shops. “A country painted in red and white,” Mokiejewski reflects, “the perfect economic model for Coca-Cola. Even in the most remote town in Chiapas, the multinational has set in motion an unbeatable strategy.”

The journalist is talking about the rental of refrigerators exclusively for the use of products made by the fizzy drink company, which she hears about from a shop-owner she interviews.

Outside one shop there is a kind of sign, which the companies give them, with photos of the different drinks and their respective prices. It says a litre of Coca-Cola costs seven pesos, one of water costs eight. The three litre bottle of Coca-Cola is sold at 21 pesos. Arana notes that three litres of water must therefore cost 24 pesos. “Water is more expensive than Coca-Cola; that’s the problem”, the journalist concludes.

Then a voiceover tells us, “Today the indigenous people of Chiapas cannot live without Coke. It has gone so far as to insert itself into religion, replacing pox, the traditional drink, in sacred ceremonies.”

The journalist attends a family prayer where they are asking for the good health of a little boy with a fever. She describes the scene as follows: “To satisfy the gods, there are no less than seven bottles of Coke in the offering.”

The patriarch of the family, an elderly man, confirms proudly that the drink is now part of the region’s “culture”, and explains that the burps it causes shoo away bad spirits. His words are accompanied, in the documentary, by images of members of the family drinking Coca-Cola from small glasses with a ritualistic attitude, even closing their eyes.

Mokiejewski’s last comment in the Chiapan episode of her documentary is frightening: “In Mexico, 70% of the population are overweight or obese. According to the Mexican body for Monitoring Health, in 2020, this will apply to 100% of the population.”

Unfinished business
Proceso contacted Mokiejewski, who said she knew nothing about Coca-Cola’s complaint in Belgium.

For his part, André Linard, general secretary of the Belgian Ethical Advisory Board for Journalism, explains: “We do not repeat the journalist’s investigation; what we examine is how she worked: whether all the ethical rules of the journalistic exercise were respected. In this case, we won’t be going to Chiapas to check.

However, during the 80s and 90s, Linard did travel to Chiapas some seven or eight times as a journalist. Specifically, he was in San Cristobal, so he can say he “knew the context of [Coca-Cola’s] complaint”.

Linard does not understand the reasons behind Coca-Cola’s attempt to discredit the journalistic work of the French report in Belgium, but he does highlight that, “In the six years that the board has existed, we’ve dealt with more than 300 cases and I cannot remember a single one by an internationally recognised business in relation to the production of journalistic content aired in Belgium.”

Among journalists, the CDPB’s verdict has moral weight; it deals neither in sanctions nor fines.

“If the opinion of the board had been unfavourable to the RTBF, what would have happened?”, Linard is asked.

“A negative ruling means that we find an ethical misdemeanour and at that point the media in question is obliged to inform its audience of our decision through a notice on their website. There is no censorship; we’re not going to ban future showings of the report, but the RTBF would have to take our decision into account when considering further airings of the documentary. The media organization is responsible for taking that decision. We do not hold the right to ban the publication of anything. Freedom of expression is a fundamental right.

The conclusions of the board concerning the information conveyed in the Mexican episode of the documentary states, “the subject discussed sparks debates, both about the amount of water necessary and the effects of the manufacture in Chiapas on the local population.”

And finally: “The overall tone is critical, but the media has the right to be so, since they constitute a system of checks and balances. Just because a report is critical doesn’t necessarily mean it is taking sides or remaining neutral.”

Translated by Ruby Zajac for the UK Zapatista Translation Service

 

Posted by Dorset Chiapas Solidarity

 

http://www.proceso.com.mx/429101/las-etnias-de-chiapas-casi-sin-agua-pero-ahogadas-en-coca-cola

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September 22, 2016

The Governor of Chiapas gives the Grito at an alternative site; the EZLN goes ahead of the mayor and gives it in Palenque

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 5:35 am

 

The Grito in Chiapas

The Governor of Chiapas gives the Grito at an alternative site; the EZLN goes ahead of the mayor and gives it in Palenque

 

ezln-702x468EZLN Sympathizers arrived in Palenque’s principal plaza. Photo: Isaín Mandujano

 

By: Isaín Mandujano

TUXTLA GUTIÉRREZ, Chiapas. (apro)

While Governor Manuel Velasco Coello had to give the Cry of Independence (Grito de Independencia) in Tapachula as an alternate site, since the plaza of the state capital is occupied by striking teachers, in Palenque hundreds of men and women sympathizers of the Zapatista National Liberation Army (EZLN) took over the plaza and gave the Grito, storming the balcony of the municipal presidency where the mayor of Palenque would [normally] be to give it.

In Tapachula, hundreds of citizens who sought to interrupt the Cry of Independence, were repressed with clubs and tear gas, prior to the event that Governor Manuel Velasco Coello headed.

Municipal and state police held back residents who since the morning through the social networks had started to call for a boycott of the Cry of Independence. So, in the midst of a strong security circle, the governor came out on the balcony waving the flag and intoning the names of each one of the country’s heroes at the same time that the bell was ringing.

Meanwhile in Palenque, men and women came from different communities, many of them with balaclavas. After the march, people who were identified as teachers, campesinos, parents and adherents to the EZLN’s Sixth Declaration arrived in the central plaza.

There, the contingent gave honours to the flag and the masked escort marched. Later, they put up a ladder and climbed up to the balcony where everything was ready for the mayor to come out to give the Cry of Independence. But the masked ones advanced and intoned slogans against “the bad government,” read the names of the heroes of Independence and made a pronouncement against the structural reforms, among them the education reform.

In Tuxtla the teachers celebrated a popular evening festival in the central plaza where the striking teachers continue their encampment. They gave the “Anti-grito” there by intoning slogans against the government of Enrique Peña Nieto and rendered honours to the flag.

In Tila, ejido authorities celebrated the expulsion of the municipal authorities and they celebrated the Cry of Independence (Grito de Independencia).

“We had to recognize that it isn’t easy to carry out our ejido autonomy, but conscious of that we must continue although stumbling blocks may exist, but always with our head held high in our conscience of struggle; since during the stay of the municipal council in our ejido, besides the dispossession and paramilitary violence, the municipal council illegally increased expenditures for alcoholic beverages by authorizing licenses to liquor stores, bars and cantinas; as well as the increase of prostitution, drug addiction, local drug dealing and burglary. Bars and cantinas can be observed a few metres from the schools and one has to be working little by little to avoid our people continuing to be poisoned and now we are doing different tests as the general assembly agreed,” says the letter read by the ejido owners.

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Originally Published in Spanish by Proceso.com

Friday, September 16, 2016

http://www.proceso.com.mx/455244/gobernador-chiapas-da-grito-en-sede-alterna-ezln-se-adelanta-a-alcalde-lo-da-en-palenque

Re-Published with English interpretation by the Chiapas Support Committee

Posted with minor edits by Dorset Chiapas Solidarity

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September 18, 2016

Teachers in Chiapas, Mexico Vote to End Strike

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 8:54 am

 

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Teachers in Chiapas, Mexico Vote to End Strike 

 

marcha_cnte_cdmx_16-08-2016-jpg_1718483346Teachers affiliated with the CNTE union march during a demonstration against Mexico’s President Enrique Pena Nieto’s education reform, Aug. 16, 2016. | Photo: teleSUR

 

The vast majority of teachers in Mexico have now agreed to return to classes, ending a strike that lasted over 100 days.

After a marathon session inside the “Ernesto Che Guevara” auditorium, teachers affiliated with the militant National Coordinator of Education Workers in the southern Mexican state of Chiapas voted Thursday to accept a government proposal and end their strike and return to classes.

The decision to end the 124-day strike came after votes by teachers from 24 different regions of the state were tabulated. According to Proceso magazine, the final result was 45 percent in favour of ending the strike, with 33 percent opposed; the remainder of the ballots were considered spoiled.

The vote means teachers in Chiapas will return to classes, meanwhile the government will have to abide by a laundry list of commitments, including unfreezing the union’s bank accounts, investing in school infrastructure, and suspending any outstanding warrants for union members.

The deal also means the application of the controversial education reform will be frozen. The strike was launched in May to ramp up the union’s rejection of the government’s education reform, introduced by Peña Nieto in 2013, on the basis that the policies threaten public education with creeping privatization and fail to respond to education needs of rural and Indigenous students.

With teachers from the state of Oaxaca having returned to classes earlier this month, Thursday’s vote means the largest locals of the National Coordinator of Education Workers, known as the CNTE, have now ended their strike.

Trade union leaders from Oaxaca and Chiapas both warned, however, that should the government renege on its commitments, union members would be prepared to engage in a new round of political protest.

Elsewhere in Mexico, teachers affiliated with the CNTE clashed with police in the City of Oaxaca ahead of the events commemorating Mexican independence.

Police prevented demonstrators from reaching the main square, nonetheless Governor Gabino Cue was met with jeers and chants calling him a “murderer” as he addressed the assembled crowd.

 

Posted by Dorset Chiapas Solidarity

 

http://www.telesurtv.net/english/news/Teachers-in-Chiapas-Mexico-Vote-to-End-Strike-20160916-0007.html

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September 13, 2016

The Impacts of Megaprojects in Chiapas

Filed under: Dams, Frayba — Tags: , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 4:40 am

 

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The Impacts of Megaprojects in Chiapas

 

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Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas Human Rights Centre, San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Chiapas, México

5 September 2016
Bulletin Number: 17

The impacts of megaprojects in Chiapas, a report to the United Nations Working Group on Business and Human Rights

Information submitted to the United Nations (UN) Working Group on Business and Human Rights included the responsibility of businesses and the Mexican State in the violation of human rights in communities and towns in Chiapas. This UN body made an official visit to Mexico from 29 August to 7 September 2016 (1).

The Businesses and Human Rights Report, written by a coalition of more than 100 organisations, communities and civil society networks includes documentation of the case of the Chicoasen II hydroelectric dam. This project affects the indigenous Zoque community who were previously displaced and stripped of their communal land in the 1980s by the dam Manuel Moreno Torres, which is better known as Chicoasen I.

The ejido committee representing the Chicoasen communal landowners and the neighbouring landholders (the Ejido Chicoasen Committee from Chiapas) reported to the UN human rights abuses: lack of access to a prior and informed consultation, with culturally appropriate information, and abuse of land and territory. The accused are the Federal Electricity Commission (CFE as it is known by its Spanish initials) and the companies Sinohydro Costa Rica, Omega Construction, Urban Development and Construction and Infrastructure Caabsa. This has been the case since the hydroelectric dam project Chicoasen II began in 2012.

 

The company Sinohydro Costa Rica, with the parent company headquartered in Beijing, has a history of human rights abuses for its involvement in the hydroelectric dam project Agua Zarca. The Council of Popular and Indigenous Organisations of Honduras (COPINH as it is known by its Spanish initials) denounced the company for the same strategies used in Chicoasen:  forging signatures, imposing ejido commissioners, harassing, attacking and threatening local farmers with the complicity of the local authorities. It is also worth remembering that  Bertha Cáceres, environmentalist, COPINH leader, human rights defender and winner of the Goldman prize, an environmental award, was killed in March 2016 in the context of the Lenca people’s struggle against the dam. This event raised alarm about the serious risk people defending land face in Latin America.

The criminalisation of human rights defenders was documented as another violation of human rights as in the case of the construction of the hydroelectric dam Chicoasen II. Between 2010 and 2016 the members of the the Ejido Chicoasen Committee have been the subject of threats, attempted arbitrary deprivation of life, arbitrary deprivation of freedom, prosecution, criminalisation of protest and they have had to struggle with internal community divisions. The ejido’s lawyer Arturo Luna Ortega was detained by state police and accused of inciting rioting and held in prison from 21 October 2015 for three months because of a complaint made by the CFE. Further, there are arrest orders for other members of the resistance (2).

Owing to the risks to life, the integrity and security of people opposing the Chicoasen II project, the Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas Human Rights Centre maintains a request for precautionary measures with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.

Frayba demonstrated that the megaprojects in Chiapas, in the majority mining, hydroelectric, tourism and plantations follow a strategy of dispossession:  implementation of authoritarian processes, lack of a prior and informed consultation with the communities affected, conspiracy between the three levels of government, modification of rules and laws, violence, criminalisation and prosecution for those who resist or oppose their plan.

Historically and in the present, indigenous communities are subject to serious human rights violations. Dispossession has affected community life and the cultural heritage of indigenous communities. Further, the environment in indigenous territory in Chiapas is being affected by the large proportion of the state being held in concession for exploration and exploitation for extractive projects. Therefore the Ejido Chicoasen Committee and Frayba attended the meeting of the UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights held on 4 September 2016 in the community of San Francisco, Xochicuatla, Mexico state. There we reiterated the obligation of the Mexican State to ensure the protection of human rights globally and universally, including those related to land, territory and the environment. In particular, we want the Mexican State to strengthen and comply with the regulatory framework and control of all business sectors, with an emphasis on those related to large-scale projects and the extractive industry in order to ensure the protection of human rights. The State and companies must comply and respect collective rights, like autonomy and the right to land and territory of the indigenous peoples and communities of African heritage.

 

(1) México: Empresas y Derechos Humanos. 29 de agosto de 2016. Available at: https://businesshumanrights.org/sites/default/files/documents/Informe_Mx_Empresas_DDHH_68_0.pdf

(2) Centro de Derechos Humanos Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas A.C. Acción Urgente: Detienen al abogado del Comité Ejidal de afectados por la presa Chicoasen II. 23 de octubre de 2015. Available at: http://www.frayba.org.mx/archivo/acciones_urgentes/151023_au_05_chicosen.pdf

Source: http://www.frayba.org.mx/archivo/boletines/160905_boletin_17_empresas.pdf

Translated by the UK Zapatista Translation Service for Dorset Chiapas Solidarity

http://www.pozol.org/?p=13682

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